Skip to main content
11:30 am
annenberg media ♪ captioni spoored by annenrg/cpb narrator: western afca is the most populous subregion south of the sahara. for decades, côte d'ivoire, or the ivory coast, was one of its most stable societies. then in 1999, a military coup, followed by years ofivil war,
11:31 am
threatened the state and its prosperity.ies. we will examine the geographic roots of this conflict, including: differing climatic and ecological zones; the booms and busts of agricultural export commodities; regional conflic based o ethnic and religious tensions. geographer jean-louis chaleard studies a cocoa plantationities; nearoubr ithsohwestof côte d'. geographer jean-louis chaleard st(dchaleard speaking frenchi)s; translator: during the 1960s and '70s, the ivory coast experienced strong economic growth. this was essentially due to exported cultivation, principally of cocoa. narrator the icocoa will only growrgest coin tropical rain forests,.
11:32 am
which you can see on this satellite mosaic as darkegreeareas along the southern coast. during the 1920s, coffeendocoa plantations abegan in the southeast.. they then diffused to theenter-west and finally to the souwest in the 1970s. the drier savaa zones in the north were left out. agricultural wealth is one of the factors that has influenced the growth and activity of the towns. we have an administrative district-- a commercial district-- which, in some ways, would look like a... a frenchrovincial city with cafes and commeiastrips and. and restaurants. it has quite... a french flavo abidjan was the capital of the former french colony. the port was main gateway for imports and exports.
11:33 am
thand there was lowealthital of created in those years.y. rror: idjan's success is best reflected in the modnity of thelateau disict. assembled here are the headquarters of large businesses and the central administration that once controlled ivory coast's economic growth. the key was something called "the stabilization fund." chaleard ( translated ): the stabilization fund controls the commercialization of cofe, cocoa and other agricultural exports. ( speaking french ) translator: here's how. ineptember or october, fixes the cocoa price. for example, this year, they say that the rate is00 c fncs a kilo. 400 francs a kilo thughout the entire coury is e price, even ithe world market rate is00 c fncs a kilo.
11:34 am
and, of course, the state pockets the difference. narrator: at difference was reinvested in t count, but often enriching certain segments of the population. you have the residential neighborhood ococody or le ateau, where you have sumptuous vias, where you'll find two peugeots or mercedes-benz in a parkingarage. narrator: income from cocoa and other commodities also stimulated industrial growth and the development of infrastructure. the côte d'ivoire road network is one of the most modern in tropical africa. this was instrumental in openingp is othe disadvantageodern in tnorthernegions. this was instrumental so was moving e capital north yamoussoukro, signed to rebalance the country geogphically of course, yamoussoukro was the birthplace
11:35 am
of then-president houphouet-boigny, so the move was controversial, especially because of the enormous cost, including the basilica notre dame de la paix, modeled after the vatican. it extended the reach of christianity from its traditional southern base towards the islamic north, helping to make yamoussoukro a kind of forward capital, complete with a new university center. the creation of new services and facilities also attracted a population of up to 100,000 people. single-story housing sprang up along the wide avenues, and small businesses multiplied along the old footpaths. in other areas of the country, too, commercial and crafts centers emerged. one of those was yopougon-- a populous area of more than 400,000 people.
11:36 am
but most wealth was still cd ( woman speaking french ) translator: i import and export anything: caclots,oos. at the moment, i'm dealing with italy, belgium and china. in the '80s, things flourished, but pretty soon after, around '86 or '87, the crisis came. narrator: e crisisn 19 washe collapse owo. the cycles of boom and bust are a constant threat in africa, south of the sahara, because of its dependence on fluctuating commodities. the economy ofôte d'ivoire was badly shaken. becaearnings from theence ostabilization fund evaporated.
11:37 am
the boom period of the 1970s muniled to lots of optimismms. and lotsf borrowingon int. when prices declined in the 1980s, the country found itselfhead withery tt moneytoay back . narrator: in pces like yamoussoukro, jobsecame scarce. translator: i cachaleard (ctranslatedb): ( mdoou like this work? i'm happy enough since there are no other possibilities. anyway, if it goes on like this,esses where i'll have toeave.get a job. naator: among afcae dfrom the eerprising spirit of i tradespeople and its sinesswomen, but not whenimesread ( woman speaking french ) translator: i've got four employees, six apprentices and a secretary. for nearly two yearsow,
11:38 am
business has been stagnant it's very hard. it's aifficultarke i even have toell on credit, and some of the clients r y. narrator the cocoa producers are small farmers. the fall in eiincomeevels m educe th translator:r i have children at school , so(eakiand at college. the fall in eiincomeevels that costs money, and sometimes we can't even afford soap at home. ( translated ): and why you send the children to school? for the future, their future. there's no more forest. if i keep a child here with me, where is he going to work? the tropical forest has been the scene ofuccleangnd...anlopmenof patio and rey mucheachedits mi. the tropical forest has been the scene
11:39 am
ofuccleangnd...anlopmenof patio andung the 198, duri amany indigenous ivorian people that had beeli, say,n urban areas, moved ckan in ct,ere were man. there was little land le. teions have now enated arou li and considerable anti-foreigner sentiment. and...someases, tensousands. ere'sin sense--.ere's beenn not by the ivorian government, but it's peoe aring (some forest, i lied.nswees
11:40 am
each year, we have problemsiv . feeding ourselves. narrator: and from neighboring countriese came to the sparsely-populatedt to find work on the plantations or obtain land. (animals calling ) ( man speaking french ) translator: we come here from the region of sakassou. auame ouurr. when he arrived, he went to see the bakwes, the natives. he explained to them why he had come and what he wanted. they were very nice. they gave him some fort- very good forest, in fact. that's how we ended up here. narrator: nipy is a village in the southwest-- the land of the bakwe people. ( man speaking french ) translator: we received our brothers from neighboring countries-- burkina faso, guinea, mali, the baule from other parts of the ivory coast--
11:41 am
who we allowed to settle, who are planters and who live here side by side with us. narrator: various ethnic groups migrated from the poorer northern savannas. many were baules, originally from the center of the country, but also the senufos, malinkes and lobis from the north. the plantations also attracted workers from other countries, including migrants from the semi-desert called sahel in mali and burkina faso. the presence of... of foreigners in côte d'ivoire is important. it's been estimated that they comprise 40% of the population. narrator: together with unemployed ivorians, many foreigners ended up in shantytowns, like this one near abidjan, called washington. ( man speaking french ) translator: first of all, it was foreigners, the burkinabes and the malians who were even more numerous. then, in the '80s, with the crisis,
11:42 am
e population of this area swelled with people om all over e ivory cot itself. at the moment, e are peopleoming om all over from all over the ivory coast. you can find baules, agnis, dyulas and maukas from the north. narrator: but the northern migrants bring more than just their ethnic diversity into this diminished economy. bassett: they've changed the religious composition of the country. eighty percent, it's estimated, of immigrants are... are muslim. so currently, the population of côte d'ivoire is about 37%, 38% muslim, and a good percentage of that is foreign-born. so we're at a conjuncture where tensions over land that are also becomiixed with politics over who's ivorian, who's not ivorian, are creating the conditions for further political instability. so the new leader, or leaders, of côte d'ivoire
11:43 am
have a lot on their platter. narrator: the future of côte d'ivoire depends on a complex interaction of geographic forces, including: regional conflicts based on ethnic and religious tensions; differing climatic and ecological zones; the booms and busts of agricultural export commodities. ass unfo, noce their locatiorelative to regions of climate, ethnicity and religious background. narrator: in economic terms, central africa is the least-devepesubregion in the world's least-developed region. tiny gabon is one of the richest nations like côte d'ivoire, souit also depends on primary economic activities: the harvest or extraction of crops or natural resources. in gabon, the most lucrative thing they extract is oil.ities: but gabon suffers great income inequality.
11:44 am
some people make a lot more than most. and their wealth comes from non-renewable resources-- not a viable long-term strategy. so the challenge in gabon is sustainable development for all of its population. located in the equatorial rain forest, gabon is very sparsely populated. for many years, the main part of its economy has been based on the export of unfinished products. in the colonial period, equatorial africa relied on primary economic activities. gabon, for instance, harvested timber, ivory and rubber. since independence, most income still comes from the export of raw materials. in the interior of the country, the principal activity is forestry. camps are installed to house the workers.
11:45 am
henri mapaga-koumba, a gabonese geographer, travels to one of these forest sites. ( speaking french ) translator: here we are in the heart of the gabonese forest. this forest represents 87% of the territory-- that is two million square kilometers. when gabon gained independence in 1960, timber exports represented 75% of total exports. today,he timber share isix percent becae of the importance of oil. ( chain saw dron then stops ) ( splintering and crashing ) narrator: nevertheln of the forest is stilln important part of the economy proving 15% of the country's jobs. cil weth from which plywood is mademe gabon practically has a world monopoly ithis type ofood.
11:46 am
only a part of the forest is exploited for the moment. e system operates ploitati granted by the state to companies, often foreign, e system operates ploifor a fixed duration. but the forest wealth is exploited inefficiently as there is practically no value added within the country. today, the largest areas being worked are situated in the center of the country. this has been made possible by the construction of the trans-gabonese railway. begun in 1973, the railway was completed in 1986. in order to lay the 400 miles of track, gigantic construction sites and enormous investments were necessary. the initiators of the project imagined the railroad as the backbone of a new economy. but rather than developing the interior, the rails merely drain away raw materials for export--
11:47 am
timber, magnesium and uranium. today, most economic activities are concentrated in the coastal zone in the major population centers. since 1957, this trend was reinforced by the discovery near port gentil of oil. this discovery transformed the economy of gabon, which is now the world's 13th largest producer. in 1994, the oil sector represented 30% of the gross national product and 80% of the country's exports. the state has given concessions to large oil companies. the most important are elf-gabon and shell-gabon. these companies play a large role in the country's financial life by contributing to the state budget and by investing in numerous sectors of the economy. some say that elf-gabon is a state within the state.
11:48 am
translator: the city of port gentil didn't exist 80 years ago, but today, it is second most important city in the country. it is oil city. the majority of the inhabited areas consist ofousing constructed by the oilompanies. narrator: residential housing is reserved for executives, of whom most are expatriates. poorer accommodations are for workers. today port gentil has 80,000 inhabitants, but population growth is stagnant. the city suffers mainly from its isolation. there is no road linking port gentil and libreville. the only means of transportation are by air and sea. libreville, the capital of the country, has grown since the oil boom of the '70s. economic, political and administrative services are concentrated here. with 350,000 inhabitants, it has one-third of the population of gabon. during the prosperous 1980s,
11:49 am
vast public works were planned for improving the city. in the hauts de gue-gue area, those privileged by the regime have built luxurious villas. but the gabonese economy, based on oil revenue, was fragile. from 1986, the fall in oil prices combined with the fall in the dollar rate brought a serious financial crisis. the state, which had launched an ambitious policy of investments, found itself heavily indebted and was unable to meet its commitments. the great schemes for improvement were interrupted, particularly at libreville, where today public services and utilities are clearly inadequate. it is estimated that 80% of the capital's population are housed in badly-equipped living quarters without basic public amenities.
11:50 am
this is the case ofhe matitis areas, which are situated on low-lying ground and are regularlflood the rainy season. ( speaking french ) translator: over there, there's a river. this river is blocked up. the water does not flow anymore, because there are houses that block it. that's why there are floods. got to get rid of the water. a t city of bs. why e city oes? because we are all piled u on top of one anothe narrator: most of the inhabitants come from rural areas. they're living in an illegal and precarious manner. the crisis has hit this disadvantaged population very hard. ( speaking french ) translator: i've been here since 1952. at that time, a laborer earned 1,000 or 1,500 francs a month, but one lived well. now, we who don't work, we're suffering. with many children, you suffer. narrator: gabon is a rich african country. an indirect result of this wealth
11:51 am
is that it imports more and more products. libreville has the biggest supermarket in central africa. many imported products are found here. their ices have increased dramatically following the devaluation of the cfa franc, which occurred in 1994. translator: we no longer buy in quantity like before because priceshave inc. ( translated ): you know eating is part of one's culture. one gets into the habit. soven if the productscome e and the prices have skyrocketed, the main thing is to find a cheese that suits my purse. narrator: traditional trade is also affectedy the crisis. those who sell local produce have to resist both the fall in consumer spending and competition from foreign products. agriculture is a poorly-developed sector particularly because of the weakness of the transportation network. the interior of the country is very sparsely populated.
11:52 am
the villages, which are often only hamlets, are very isolated and badly equipped. subsistence agriculture is the norm here. the main part of the agricultural production-- manioc, bananas, ignames and peanuts-- is self-consumed, because of the low production, also becse of the difficulties in trartatio the country imports 50% of its food requirements. the development of agriculture is indispensable to slow the flight from the rural areas and to reduce the cost of imports. on the outskiras haveof urbanend in oer to supply maet produe under pressure from the international monetary fund in the early '90s, gabon restructured its economic policy and is attempting to reduce the share of its economy
11:53 am
coming from the oil sector. ( translated ): for a few years, oil will remain the principal source of the budgeted income of the state, but the government is working at the present time so that this dependence becomes less and less evident and so that other areas of the economy, especially agriculture and forestry, will also contribute a more important share to the state budget than it does now. narrator: but just the opposite occurred. by the beginning of the 21st century, oil had risen to 50% of gabon's gdp from 30% when we were first there in 1994. yet drops in production prevent the country from fully realizing potential gains. in a country dependent on non-renewable resources, some hope they can make forestry here sustainable. at the same time, they grant new permits to cut the forest at unprecedented rates. the dark green shows the area that is covered in forest. not long ago, it seemed like an endless resource.
11:54 am
in 1957, the government sold concessions, or permits, for logging in these areas. gradually, those areas grew and grew. by 1997, areas slated for logging looked like this. gabon wi lose half its forest cover the next hundred years. so what could they do to preserve their forest and still bring in income? after years of research, scientists here find one small hope for sustainable development. the extent of remaining gabonese rain forest is surveyed by biologists michael fay and leslie white for the wildlife conservation society. wcs and the national geographic society support fay's megatransect-- a walk through hundreds of miles
11:55 am
of pristine central african forest with local crews. they discover not only rivers and forests at risk, but some of the world's st isolated wildlife. elephants like these have never encountered poachers, so they don't charge or run away. (shris ) although this chimp could tear apart a human,moy that they are no matchfor . ce the scientists see they take on a new mission.s. leslie white of the wildlife conservation society. the wcs program in gabon has... has really evolved a lot in the last year or two. we've shifted from being basically a research and training program based in the lope reserve to a situation where now we're doing a national evaluation
11:56 am
of all the potential national parks in gabon. narrator: working closely with gabon's biologists, they press the case for setting aside large natural areas. inhethe president of gabon makes a dramatic announcement. he establishes a new natural park system that will cover ten percent of gabon's rain forests. in preserving this natural heritage for future generations of gabonese citizens, ays groundwork with attractions second to none. can a country stilpeent onmaconomic acvies ays grofind alternatives to non-renewable resources?none. can it reduce income inequality by raising the standard of living as it searches for means of sustainable development?
11:57 am
habitat conservation and eco-tourism may be one important part. captioned by media access group at wgbh
11:58 am
11:59 am

Mosaic World News
LINKTV November 1, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PDT

News/Business. English news reports from Middle Eastern broadcasters. (CC)


TOPIC FREQUENCY Gabon 19, Ivory Coast 5, Libreville 4, Africa 3, Côte D'ivoire 3, Leslie White 2, Jean-louis Chaleard 2, Wildlife Conservation Society 2, Narrator 2, Sahara 2, Burkina Faso 2, Mali 2, Abidjan 2, Central Africa 2, Port Gentil 2, Gabonese 2, Trans-gabonese Railway 1, Maukas 1, Baules 1, Senufos 1
Network LINKTV
Duration 00:30:00
Rating PG-13;V
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 89 (615 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 544
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
In Collection
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 11/1/2012